What indicates respect in one culture can mean disrespect in another. How someone responds to eye contact could give you a clue to their cultural background.
But I think this is also an indication of the amount of people around you. In New York City, jam-packed with people, eye contact with people you aren’t directly talking to may seem to be a threatening gesture.
There’s a science behind eye contact in different cultures.
But outside of the big city eye contact is much less of an issue. It seems to be less and less of an issue the farther you get away from densely populated areas. Where it is less crowded people are less on edge and free to let their eyes wander.